I don’t bring much to the table. I accept this, most days. My looks, unremarkable. My storytelling, awkward. My strength, nil.
Several times per day, however, I can make someone laugh. That skill is one of the things which keep me going. Over the years I’ve honed a talent for responding with a suitable (if possibly off-kilter) quip for a variety of straight lines and situations. I even have some talent at gauging the audience; there’s no point in wasting my time and jabbing their sensibilities dropping a Yakitate Japan “Kurawa-san” joke on someone who can’t stand anime, after all.
And then came Twitter.
On the one hand? One hundred forty characters is near-perfect bon mot length. If you can’t fit the joke into Twitter’s constraints, Twitter is the wrong medium for the joke. You can inject humor into any conversation to which you’re even merely a bystander. If you do well, you earn RTs and Faves and LOLs and such-forth. Validation, ho!
On the other? Millions of folks chat on Twitter, a great many of whom fancy themselves quite the wit. It is so, so easy to wear out a joke by the time you’ve finished typing it. Sure, it’s funny to you, but the recipient may well get three dozen variations on the same punch line. In short: The obvious joke is, more and more often nowadays, the wrong joke. What works in your living room or around the water cooler may be withered and unwelcome, online.
So I’ve been challenging myself lately to think outside the easy one-liners and programmed responses. This can only elevate the general quality of my comedy, on-line and off-line, am I right?
Yes… as the late, great, George Carlin once said: “These are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.”